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Top 10 Made-on-Maui Valentine’s Gift Idea

valentine-cupcake-poem

Yes! The holiday rush is finally over.  No more racking your brain deciding what to get your loved ones for Christmas. No more late night online searching for the best deals. No more dragging yourself up-and-down the isles of the store searching for just the right gift.

Oh wait! Isn’t Valentine’s Day fast approaching?! Here we go again…more shopping. They’ve already got what they’d asked for at Christmas and you’ve done all the typical Valentine’s gifts in the years past. Now you want something other then store bought chocolate boxes or flower arrangements. Well, search no more. Here are 10 Maui-made gift ideas you may never have thought of:

1. Surprise! Have your (cup)cake and free delivery too.

Have you ever had someone send you a gift? Remember that excited feeling of surprise. Imagine your loved ones delight when you send them a box of cupcakes for Valentine’s Day. That’s right, Maui has cupcake delivery from Cupcake Ladies Catering Co. Get their Valentine’s Special of half a dozen red velvet cupcakes for $22.50 or two boxes for $43. Best of all…they are offering FREE delivery for this holiday. www.cupcakesmaui.com/valentines-special

 Cupcake Maui

2. Custom made and totally cute.

Does your Valentine love things that are tiny and totally cute? Order custom cakepops on Maui from Cakepops By Liz. Think of a favorite movie or something that represents your Valentine and make a request. Having a gift custom made can really make a person feel special. Prices start at $20 per dozen and vary depending on size and packaging selection. Contact the talented and creative Liz at www.cakepopsbyliz.com.

cakepops by liz

3. No more store bought boxes of chocolate!

 I know, I know. I said no more store bought boxes of chocolate, but this is different. These chocolates are made on Maui by Master Chocolatier Melanie Boudar. Her chocolates are award winning and feature flavors like the Lava Sea Salt Caramels. Boxes of chocolates range from $5 for a two-piece box to $175 for their largest box. Visit her boutique at the Wailea Gateway Center or online at www.sweetparadisechocolatier.com.

 4. Are you coco-nutty for your buddy?

 Maui Macaroons are the islands most amazing coconut cookies. Is your Valentine a coconut lover? Whether or not they love coconut, you must try this Maui-made cookie. I’ll bet you didn’t even know they have a shop in central Wailuku. They range from $7 for a quarter pound to $21 for a full pound. The cool thing about the Maui Macaroons & Artisan Market is that they are a treasure trove of other various Maui made products. Visit them to see what you may discover.

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5. Is that bacon on my cookie?!

If you got a bacon lover for a lover, they will squeal over the Bacon-nator Cookies from The Maui Cookie Lady. The best part is they are so huge you may only need one to satisfy any sweet tooth. Since they are $4 dollars each, you won’t be breaking the piggy bank either.

Various flavors are also available at the Maui Ocean Treasures gift shop. Open 9am-5pm daily, Aquarium admission not required to shop.

-www.themauicookielady.com

6. Enough with the sweets already!

 Something that looks sweet but is not to eat, is Moko Pua Soap Factory’s Tropical Sachets. These fragrance beads last for a year or longer. They come in nine tropical scents and colors. Combine them any way you like. A combination of red, yellow, green for your hunny’s gym bag perhaps. At $7 a bag you could get one for your Valentine’s bedrooms, car, closets, desk, nightstand, and underwear drawer too. Visit their soap factory at the Maui Tropical Plantation or order online at www.mokupua.com.

7. Valentine’s for the kiddos

Wrapped in a sweet story of love for his daughter, this local Dad began Maui Dad Apparel – a small family business offering infant and toddler apparel. Each item features his own drawings inspired by his baby and life here. They are screen-printed by hand on Maui. Also, they are guaranteed sweatshop and child-labor free. They range from $26-$28. Visit www.mauidad.myshopify.com and various stores listed on their website.

mauidadapparel

8. For the Fashionista

Does your Valentine express themselves through fashion? Love, love, love Kealopiko’s clutch purses. Thoughtful, local, and inspiring. They are made of light canvas and upcycled scraps from their other projects. The material is hand dyed and printed on Molokai making each bag a unique and one of a kind creation. They won’t hurt your wallet either at around $30 each.  www.kealopiko.com

9. Bangle’s are her best friend

This list would not be complete without jewelry. Inspired by our ocean and her travels, Kammi’s designs are hand-crafted into beautiful jewelry right here on Maui. Please your Valentine’s inner girly-girl with the Honi Honi Bangle. It is a delicate piece with two hearts and a cone shell in sterling sliver for $80 or in 14k goldfill for $90. www.kamerajewelry.com

10. Our dogs deserve some love too don’t they?

Maui Dog Treats creates healthy treats for our canine ‘ohana. They’re sold at various places throughout the island. Love that they offer free shipping so we can send some to our friends and family in the mainland too. If your Valentine loves their pup (maybe more than you) they will howl in excitement for the Pup Treat Lei. It’s such a unique gift and only $9 for the small and $14 for the large. www.dogtreatsmaui.com

 

Please feel free to share this post to your loved ones, family and friends.  

Share aloha, live aloha! A hui hou!

 

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Where To Find Yummy Burgers on Maui

 

bucket list burgers jennifer poppy

 

Aloha, y’all, this is Jennifer Poppy of Island Gypsy Hawaii, and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to share about life here in Maui, Hawaii, again here on Liza’s amazing A Maui Blog.

When you’re enjoying the warm rays of the sun and the cool breezes across the ocean it’s easy to say,

“Today I’ll be happier than a bird with a french fry!”

But what about being happier than a bird with a french fry and an amazing burger with a beautiful view of Maui, to boot? Today I’m going to share something special with you…it’s my personal bucket list for “ono” Maui burgers!

I know that when you’re on vacation (or even staycation for you awesome Maui readers) you want to know where to eat. And what’s better than knowing where to find the BEST Maui burgers? I’ve done my research, y’all, from talking to local friends, asking family and scouring the Internet, and here’s what I found:

Bully’s Burgers

Maui Time has declared Bully’s Burgers the “Best Burger Ever!” Their all natural beef burgers are served up hot and fresh daily, but you’ve gotta be ready to make the trip to get there. From what I hear it is well worth the adventure…and if you’re in Maui, why not go for a little adventure in pursuit of an amazing burger? You’ll find them on Kanaio, which is past the Ulupakalua Winery.

Teddy’s Bigger Burgers

teddy's burger

via Teddy’s Bigger Burgers

Several of my friends mentioned Teddy’s in Lahaina, Hawaii, as one of their favorite places to grab a burger. Their motto, “One burger, one customer, one experience,” sounds like an excellent way to run a hamburger business to me. They also seem to have a good kids’ menu, which is always a plus in my book! My mouth is watering just thinking about trying one!

Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop

leoda's burger

via Leoda’s

Now I have eaten a burger at Leoda’s before, so I can scratch this one off of my bucket list. However, if you haven’t tried it yet, keep it on your list because it’s ah-mazinggggg!!! Leoda’s is located in Lahaina and is well worth the drive even if you live Upcountry like me. After your burger be sure to make room for dessert or take it with you. My fave is the mac nut chocolate prailine, but really you just can’t go wrong with their desserts.

Fat Girl’s Burger

If you’re up for a little taste of local life, then check out Wailuku’s First Friday. Fat Girl’s Burger will happily serve you a delicious meal, according to my local friends. One of their faves is the Korean Burger. So, go, be adventurous and try it out!

Cool Cats

cool cat burger

via Cool Cat’s

Cool Cats was voted “Best Burger in Maui” for the last ten years. So, yeah, it’s definitely on my bucket list of Maui hamburgers to try. My friends like the fun 50s diner vibe, and of course, the yummy food! It’s located on the wharf, which is fun, too.

Have you tried any of these Maui hamburger joints? I can’t wait to scratch them off my bucket list! 

With mucho aloha,
Jennifer

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Travaasa Hana – #HanaTrip via Maui Jungalow

Travaasa Hana

 Many of you know that Hana is one of  my most favorite places in the world, and I absolutely love staying at Travaasa Hana when I go there. The photo above is by Maui Information Guide, taken from my last visit.   I was very excited when my friend Courtney of Maui Jungalow blog agreed to be our guest blogger and share with about her  perspective on her recent  Travaasa Hana visit. Here’s what she says:

Hana, a place w/ no traffic lights and no night life to speak of. A place where people don’t recognize Hollywood celebrities. A place where many go to bed at 8pm and wake up before the roosters. The place at the end of the world, for Maui at least.

In Hana, there used to be one hotel. A hotel at the end of the map. For wayfarers far off the beaten path who wanted a spot of luxury, or realized they had taken too long on the road to Hana and didn’t want to drive all night to get back to their condo or hotel room. Or for those who wanted to soak in the goodness of Hana, encapsulate it in their bones, and wring out all the frenetic rushing around of daily life. For a year I wondered what happened to it. I thought the economic downturn had swallowed it up. No, it re-emerged more stylishly than ever as Travaasa Hana. It is still the only hotel in town.

Copy of road to hana may 7th Jill travaasa-001

Spotted: Jill Mayo madly photographing everything at Travaasa Hana.

Travaasa Hana is not your typical resort wedding cake hotel. There is no sugar rush, but a more gradual sensation of fullness. It vibrates at a gentler frequency, just like the town of Hana .

This is post #3 in the Road to Hana series. If this is your first time reading, you may also want to read post #1 and post #2. Travaasa Hana was one of our major stops on the Road to Hana social media trip. The hotel had invited us to lunch and a tour of their grounds. Disclaimer: The hotel paid for lunch with the hope that we would share some positive social media coverage: instagram pics, tweets, blogging. Valley Isle Excursions provided transportation and a tour guide for the same reason, though the hotel stop was not a normal part of their tour.

Of course we were hungry. The Road to Hana always makes one hungry. All that driving, taking photos, waiting at one lane bridges, taking photos, visiting waterfalls, taking photos, stopping at banana bread and fruit stands, taking photos… get the picture? (my bad)

Travaasa food collage Hana-001

Clockwise from upper left: excerpt from the restaurant menu, ahi salade nicoise, mango noni juice coolers at the spa,sweet potato chips and guacamole from local avocados.

The most surprising thing I noticed on the menu was a Philly Cheesesteak! Someone did order that. It’s a novelty item on Maui . The more expected dishes were locally grown sweet potato fries, fresh caught fish, Maui beef. I think everyone was happy with their meal, but I can only speak for my end of the table. Yes, we took photos.

Hubert, the events manager, was our gracious host and he shared some of the things that had changed, and stayed the same, with new management.

Travaasa Hana is a provocative name. Travaasa comes from the Sanskrit word provaasa (meaning journey) with the added “Tra” for travel to invoke a new meaning: “the journey beyond.” We had a group “ooh” moment.

Travaaasa Hana has a sister hotel in, of all places, Austin, Texas. Roxanne Darling in our group, was the only person who had been to both hotels. Roxanne summed it up this way: “Travaasa is a lifestyle brand not a location brand. Not like a Hilton. Austin and Hana are two different locales reflecting their [respective] local cultures and local design. You would not expect the same experience in Austin as in Hana.”

Copy of road to hana may 7th trip gate

You wouldn’t expect this gate or landscaping at Travaasa Austin.

A lot of renovation had taken place, and is still underway, with about another year left to go. In a lush, moist environment like Hana, exposed to ocean salt in the air, the grounds and building have to be constantly maintained and updated. Or there is the devil to pay.

The hotel is still one of the only places to work in East Maui . It may even be the largest employer, and its economic effects go far into the community. If you live in Hana and don’t work at the hotel, well, you know someone who does. The hotel is involved with Hana nonprofit organizations and was preparing for a fundraising dinner for the Hana Youth Center and Mahele Farms that weekend. The hotel also has rental arrangements with three nonprofits at the town center, with the idea to keep the money in Hana.

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Outdoor shower for the spa building. Notice the bluish green jade vine dangling down and the red ti leaf plant.

Travaasa Hana has a retreat ambience. This means there is no cable, and no TV in the rooms. This is horrifying for some people, but the hotel is intended as a get-away and escape, not a bring-everything-with-you kind of place. It is not without modern technology, however. We practically ran to the numerous outlets to plug in smart phones and enjoyed the wifi in the restaurant, much appreciated after several miles of no coverage. Hubert mentioned that the hotel is debating some policies to maintain the retreat ambience, and darling Roxanne said her specialty is giving “unsolicited free advice” which she proceeded to give. After our animated discussion, we’ll be curious to see what the hotel does.

Travaasa Hana has a split personality. One side of the street has hotel rooms, lobby, the restaurant, spa and other public areas. The beach side of the street has cottages, an infinity pool, and a no children policy for several months out of the year. Children are welcome 365 days a year in hotel rooms and throughout the main side of the hotel, but not in the more private cottage areas, except for a few weeks during spring break, summer and winter. Hubert explained that this is to keep one area of the hotel a retreat environment for most of the year.

 

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The more private “cottage” side of the resort with a large pool.

Occasionally celebrities turn up at Travaasa Hana. They are taut-lipped refugees from other resorts on Maui , using fake names, swaddled in multiple layers of fabric, sunglasses, hats, anything to hide and not be recognized. They are looking for the peace and solitude of Hana, and usually find it since most Hana residents hardly watch TV. After a couple of days, layers of excess clothing and accessories tend to fall away. Though rumor has it that Hana locals can spot a kickboxing champion miles away.

Travaasa Hana is the only resort in Hawaii as of this writing that has an all inclusive resort fee, meaning that one can pay a fixed price to include lodging, meals, and a daily spa treatment. There is even a watsu pool, the only one at a Maui resort, and still uncommon in Hawaii . Watsu, derived from “water shaiatsu” is not a massage, but a playful and soothing water therapy. It’s quite enjoyable, though I’ve not experienced it in Hawaii . Other cultural activities include lei making, throw net fishing and for foodies, Hawaiian salt tasting of salt from Kaupo, West Maui, Molokai and other islands.

Copy of road to hana may 7th watsu pool spa

Watsu pool at the hotel’s spa.

 

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Sign ups for numerous cultural offerings and outings.

We took an extensive walk of the grounds and through the spa, where we had to switch to modulated, whispering “spa voices.” The grounds have lots of native, medicinal and flowering plants. I almost laughed to see Hubert extol a noni tree, which is a highly beneficial medicinal tree with odiferous swollen (and super healthy) fruit that makes most people run away in terror. Monique at the spa offered us a noni and mango juice refresher that was surprisingly good. Couldn’t even taste the noni. Hubert said the teens from the Hana Youth Center are making special drinks for their fundraising dinner with fresh squeezed noni juice, tangelo juice, local honey and sparkling water. He asserts it is quite tasty. Well, I’ll try most anything.

After a lovely sojourn, our bus was ready to continue on the Road to Hana, to the area beyond Hana… Hopefully, the next post will be posted relatively soon. It may be another guest post, or back on Maui Jungalow.

Have you stayed at Travaasa Hana or the old Hotel Hana? What did you think? Let us know!

UPDATE: Courtney wrote another post on FIVE (5)  LESSONS ON THE ROAD TO HANA – I think you will really enjoy and learn. Check it out (the title is a live link – just click it and it will take you there :) )

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Some Calls Them Flip Flops We Call Them Slippahz

This kind of footware has many names, you have to know how to call it depending on where you are and who you are talking to.  It is can be called FlipFlops, Sandals, Slippers. Now, if you want to sound like a Maui Local, call them Slippah or Slippahz.

If you  are visiting Maui and you don’t own a pair of flip flops, I highly recommend that you buy a pair ahead of time and use it a little bit to break it in.  This way you will get used to it and you will enjoy using it better when you are on Maui.  Sure you will like to walk barefoot on the beach, but on your way there you would want to wear something comfortable for foot protection.

Here on Maui it is very common to buy them on the grocery stores such as Safeway and Longs.  Recently a new breed of slippers emerged.  They are more expensive but more comfortable, much more stylish and they last longer at least that’s how it is in my own experience.  And sometimes I just want to wear a slipper that had some kind of personality, like that hibiscus slippahz on the photo above.

How about this new trend on Beach Weddings where brides wear these fancy slippers and it is so cool!

Here on Maui, I have attended many weddings where the bride uses some fancy bridal slippers and during the wedding ceremony.  Have you?

So why am I all of a sudden taking about slippahz? Because I was introduced to this Havaainas Fiip Flops and I want to get one. You guessed t right, I want that pair with the hibiscus design, because I really am fond hibiscus!  I don’t  know where to buy them on Maui, but that’s not a problem. I can order them at Havaianas Online store – and that’s what I am going to do!

You want a chance to get pair too? You can Like Havaianas Facebook Page and they occassionally give out special prizes such a pair if Havaianas Slippahz.

OK, got to go for now.  I am off to get ready to watch my daughter in a musical play they are doing in school: Annie, Jr.  I’m sure I am going to write a blog post about that too :)

 

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